ONE million people in Essex have now had their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

The landmark number was reached over the weekend and means more than half of the county’s populations has had at least one dose.

A total of 11 vaccine centres have been delivering jabs in the Essex County Council area, along with hospitals, GP surgeries and pharmacies.

Reacting to the milestone, county hall’s health boss John Spence said: “To reach the millionth resident is a great milestone and a cause for celebration.

“This is also a testimony to the hard work of NHS partners, thousands of volunteers, and the readiness of our citizens. “However, I will not rest until every eligible resident has had their second jab and something like normality is back for the long term.”

Anthony McKeever, executive lead for the Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership which has been helping rollout the vaccine, said: “This is a fantastic milestone and residents from across the county continue to come forward to receive their first and second doses of the vaccine.

“With all adults now receiving their vaccine and adults over 40 years old able to bring their second dose forward to 8 instead of 12 weeks, this is the final push to protect our residents and reduce the impact of COVID.”

Essex County Council says it expects all adults to have been offered two jabs by mid October.

One of the thousands of people who received their vaccination in recent days is week is Andrew Wood, aged 20, who had the Pfizer vaccine at The Lodge, Runwell.

Andrew said: “I want to do what I can to protect others and support the NHS. Most of my family work in the health service so I’ve seen the impact that COVID has had on so many people.

“I donated plasma after recovering from COVID-19 last Autumn, and booked to have my first vaccine dose as soon as I became eligible. I’ll be back in a few weeks for my second dose.”

The data from Essex County Council does not include figures from Southend or Thurrock as they are run separately by unitary authorities.